Career Information for a Degree in General Studies

General studies degrees provide a lot of flexibility with benefits of a complete degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Essential Information

A general studies degree is designed for students who want to get a college education, but don't know what specialization they want to go into. A lot of schools out there offer full general study degrees, while others require students to commit after 1 to 2 years. Courses that students can take include mathematics, history, philosophy, art and natural sciences. After completing this program, students can go on to graduate school or pursue many different types of careers.

Career Administrative Service Managers Correctional Officers Funeral Directors
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree High school diploma or equivalent Associate's degree
Other Requirements Certifications offered State-mandated training required Apprenticeship and licensure required
Job Growth (2012-22)* 12% 5% 18%
Average Salary (2014)* $92,250 annually $44,910 annually $52,130 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Graduates with a degree in general studies can go into many fields. Job titles include funeral director, correctional officer and an administrative service manager. Below are overviews and detailed descriptions of three possible career choices for general studies majors.

Administrative Services Managers

The duties performed by administrative service managers cover a wide spectrum. They are responsible for planning, organizing and coordinating projects and services in almost every industry. Administrative service managers are found in both the government and private sectors.

These workers make planning decisions, direct the work of others, formulate goals and strategies and report to upper management, depending on their level. Many are involved in hiring and firing decisions, and in large organizations they may have one or more levels of management below and above them in the decision-making chain. This profession was projected to grow 12% from 2012-2022, an average pace, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The average salary for these workers was $92,250 per year as of May 2014 (

Correctional Officers

A correctional officer works in a prison, providing supervision and direction to inmates. Many employers require a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS, but most prison systems do not have specific requirements regarding major. Training is typically provided on the job for entry-level employees. Employment opportunities in this field from 2012-2022 are expected to grow 5%, which is slower than the national average for all occupations. Pay is often low and the work can, in some cases, be dangerous. The BLS reported that the average salary in this field as of May 2014 was $44,910 annually.

Funeral Directors

Funeral directors manage and direct funerals, wakes and services for deceased persons and their families. They also embalm and restore the appearances of the deceased for display and comfort the grieving in their times of loss. A general studies degree can lead to this career by way of a 2- to 4-year program of studies followed by an apprenticeship.

A degree in mortuary science might be more direct, but a general studies program is more flexible for those starting out with multiple aspirations. Funeral directors must be licensed to work in their state and should possess a high level of tact and compassion in order to interact with friends and family members of the deceased. Between 2012 and 2022, job openings are expected to grow 18% for funeral directors, which is faster than average. As of May 2014, average earnings were $52,130 per year, reported the BLS.

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